Words on Knowing Oneself

Excerpt 42

The key to achieving a change in disposition is to know one’s own nature, and this must happen in accordance with exposure of God. Only in God’s word can one know one’s own hideous nature, recognize in one’s own nature Satan’s various poisons, realize that one is foolish and ignorant, and recognize the weak and negative elements in one’s nature. After these are fully known, and you are truly able to hate yourself and rebel against the flesh, consistently carry out God’s word, consistently pursue the truth while performing your duties, achieve a change in your disposition, and become a person who truly loves God, then you will have embarked on the path of Peter. Without the grace of God, and without enlightenment and guidance from the Holy Spirit, it would be difficult to walk this path, because people do not possess truth and are unable to rebel against themselves. Walking Peter’s path of perfection primarily rests on being resolved, having faith, and relying on God. Furthermore, one must submit to the work of the Holy Spirit; in all things, one cannot do without God’s words. These are the key aspects, none of which can be violated. Getting to know oneself through experience is very difficult; without the work of the Holy Spirit, it is futile. To walk the path of Peter, one must concentrate on knowing oneself and on transforming one’s disposition. Paul’s path was not one of seeking life or focusing on self-knowledge; he particularly focused on doing work and its influence and momentum. His motivation was to gain God’s blessings in exchange for his work and suffering, and to receive rewards from God. This motivation was wrong. Paul did not focus on life, nor did he place any importance on achieving a change of disposition; he focused only on rewards. Because he had the wrong goals, the path on which he walked was, of course, also wrong. This was brought about by his arrogant and conceited nature. Clearly, Paul did not possess any truth, nor did he have any conscience or reason. In saving and changing people, God primarily alters their dispositions. The purpose of His words is to achieve in people the outcome of possessing transformed dispositions and the ability to know God, submit to Him, and worship Him in a normal way. This is the purpose of God’s words and of His work. Paul’s way of seeking was in direct violation of, and in conflict with, God’s will; it ran completely counter to it. However, Peter’s way of seeking was completely in accord with God’s will: He focused on life, and on changes in disposition, which is precisely the outcome that God desires to achieve in human beings with His work. Peter’s path is therefore blessed and receives God’s approval. Because the path of Paul is in violation of God’s will, God therefore hates and curses it. To walk the path of Peter, one must know God’s will. If one is truly able to fully understand His will through His words—which means understanding what God wants to make of man and, ultimately, what outcome He desires to achieve—only then is one able to have an accurate understanding of which path to follow. If you do not fully understand Peter’s path, and merely have a desire to follow it, then you will not be able to embark upon it. In other words, you might know a lot of doctrines, but will ultimately not be able to enter reality. Though you might make a superficial entry, you will be unable to achieve any real result.

Nowadays, most people have a very superficial understanding of themselves. They have not come to clearly know the things that are part of their nature at all. They only have knowledge of a few of the corrupt states they reveal, the things they are likely to do, or a few of their shortcomings, and this makes them believe that they know themselves. If, furthermore, they abide by a few regulations, ensure that they do not make mistakes in certain areas, and manage to avoid committing certain transgressions, they then consider themselves to possess reality in their belief in God and assume that they will be saved. This is completely human imagination. If you abide by those things, will you really become able to refrain from committing any transgressions? Will you have attained a true change in disposition? Will you really be living out the likeness of a human being? Can you genuinely satisfy God that way? Absolutely not, this is for sure. Belief in God works only when one has high standards and has attained the truth and some transformation in one’s life disposition. This first requires dedication to knowing oneself. If people’s knowledge of themselves is too shallow, they will find it impossible to solve problems, and their life dispositions simply will not change. It is necessary to know oneself on a profound level, which means knowing one’s own nature: what elements are included in that nature, how these things originated, and where they came from. Moreover, are you actually able to hate these things? Have you seen your own ugly soul and your wicked nature? If you are truly able to see the truth about yourself, then you will hate yourself. When you hate yourself and then practice God’s word, you will be able to rebel against the flesh and have the strength to carry out truth without believing it to be strenuous. Why do many people follow their fleshly preferences? Because they consider themselves to be pretty good, feeling that their actions are right and justified, that they have no faults, and even that they are entirely in the right, they are therefore capable of acting with the assumption that justice is on their side. When one recognizes what one’s true nature is—how ugly, how despicable, and how pitiful—then one is not overly proud of oneself, not so wildly arrogant, and not so pleased with oneself as before. Such a person feels, “I must be earnest and down to earth in practicing some of God’s word. If not, then I will not measure up to the standard of being human, and will be ashamed to live in God’s presence.” One then truly sees oneself as paltry, as truly insignificant. At this time, it becomes easy for one to carry out truth, and one will appear to be somewhat like a human should be. Only when people truly hate themselves are they able to rebel against the flesh. If they do not hate themselves, they will be unable to rebel against the flesh. Truly hating oneself is not a simple matter. There are several things that must be found in them: First, knowing one’s own nature; and second, seeing oneself as needy and pitiful, seeing oneself to be extremely small and insignificant, and seeing one’s own pitiful and dirty soul. When one fully sees what one truly is, and this outcome is achieved, one then truly gains knowledge of oneself, and it can be said that one has come to know oneself fully. Only then can one truly hate oneself, going so far as to curse oneself, and truly feel that one has been corrupted profoundly by Satan such that one does not even resemble a human being. Then, one day, when the threat of death appears, such a person will think, “This is God’s righteous punishment. God is indeed righteous; I really should die!” At this point, he will not lodge a complaint, much less blame God, simply feeling that he is so needy and pitiful, so filthy and corrupt that he should be cast out and destroyed by God, and a soul like his is not fit to live on earth. Therefore, this person will not complain against or resist God, much less betray God. If one does not know oneself, and still considers oneself to be pretty good, then when death comes knocking, this person will think, “I have done so well in my faith. How hard I have sought! I have given so much, I have suffered so much, yet ultimately, God is now asking me to die. I don’t know where God’s righteousness is. Why is He asking me to die? If I have to die, then who will be saved? Won’t the human race come to an end?” First of all, this person has notions about God. Secondly, this person is complaining, and not showing any submission whatsoever. This is just like Paul: When he was about to die, he did not know himself, and by the time God’s punishment was nigh, it was all too late.

Excerpt 43

Although gatherings often fellowship on the truth, dissect people’s corrupt dispositions, talk about knowing oneself, and discuss people’s various states and behaviors, there are now still many people who do not know their own corrupt disposition. Some people merely acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition, but do not know it when they reveal it. Some people have comprehension ability, and when reading God’s words, they acknowledge that God’s words are the truth and that what He says is practical. However, when things befall them, their understanding becomes superficial. They always believe that they are still doing just fine, that they are still a good person, and although they believe they have a bit of a corrupt disposition, they still group themselves together with the good people. They do not know the nature of their corrupt disposition or what consequences it will cause. Is this really knowing oneself? After people have believed in God for a few years, through reading His words, listening to sermons and fellowship, as well as being pruned, most of them have finally seen clearly that their humanity is not good, and that they truly have a corrupt disposition and can do things that violate the truth and oppose God. However, many people do not truly recognize this; they merely acknowledge verbally that they are devils, that they are Satans, and that they should be cursed. Is this kind of understanding practical or not? Is it something that comes from the heart? Is it something said out of a genuine hatred of oneself? For example, there was a leader or worker who was dismissed for not doing real work, and to show everyone their “remorse,” they wrote a letter of repentance: “I have let God down and I owe Him. I am not worthy of His salvation or His painstaking care and effort. I am a demon, I am Satan, my humanity is bad. I should be cursed, and I should go to hell and perish!” In this letter of repentance, with every sentence they deny and condemn themselves, speaking words that an unbeliever would never say. Although they acknowledge that they are a demon and Satan, are any of these words truthful? (No. They do not mention which corruptions they have revealed, which bad things they have done, or what losses they have brought to the work of the church.) There is not a single sentence that explains the actual situation or what is in their heart; they are all empty words. Is this true understanding? (No.) If it is not true understanding, then do they acknowledge that they are corrupt? (No.) Let’s define it for them: This person does not acknowledge their own corruption. They wrote a letter of repentance, and on the surface, it seems that they know themselves and acknowledge their corruption. From then on, you should look at how they behave in daily life and whether their true behavior behind the scenes has changed; only then can you draw an accurate conclusion. From what behaviors can we see that they genuinely acknowledge their own corruption, and that they truly know themselves? (After a person has genuine understanding of themselves, there will be real changes.) This is correct. God looks at whether there is real change in a person. If someone writes a letter of repentance, and their words seem sincere and they seem to have genuine understanding, does this mean that they have truly repented? Can it prove that they have truly repented? No, we must look at whether there has been a genuine change in them—this is the most crucial aspect. But after they are dismissed, they often justify and defend themselves before the brothers and sisters, which is tantamount to still not acknowledging their own corruption and having no genuine understanding of themselves. Their resistance, self-defense, and justification behind the scenes have confirmed this point. In addition, when the Above dissects their actions and says that they are an antichrist, a false leader, and someone who does not do real work, what is their reaction to being exposed by the Above? They reason, defend and justify themselves, explaining these matters everywhere, not acknowledging that they do not do real work, that they are lacking in caliber, that they do not understand the truth, and that they are a false leader. What kind of disposition is behind this non-acknowledgment and self-defense? This is a kind of intransigent and arrogant disposition, a disposition that is averse to the truth. When they wrote their letter of repentance, they said that they were a devil and Satan, that they were unworthy of God and owed God, and that their humanity was not good, but immediately after acknowledging this, they reverted to their old ways. What is going on here? (Their acknowledgment is not true.) Which is their true side? What is their true stature? (Defending and justifying themselves.) Their behind-the-scenes justifications and self-defense, their explaining themselves everywhere—this is their true side. Does this not prove that they do not acknowledge that they cannot do real work and that they do not have the truth reality? They do not acknowledge it at all. If they do not even acknowledge this, then do they truly know themselves? If they do not know themselves, then is their characterization of themselves as a devil and Satan not misleading people? Then everything they say about knowing themselves is a lie; all of it is deceptive. They do not acknowledge that they cannot do the work, and that their humanity is not good, so why do they still say those words of self-condemnation? It is unfathomable. If they do not know themselves, why do they still pretend that they do? It is to cheat people. The facts before us have already proven that they are a hypocritical person. So do they acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition? (They do not acknowledge it.) They refuse to acknowledge it, and even go out of their way to find various excuses and reasons to prove that these things they have done are not wrong. They believe that no matter what they do, it is right, and the Above should not condemn or dissect it. They can accept being dismissed, but not being treated unjustly because of these things. No matter the reason for their dismissal, they can submit to it and accept it; it is solely because they were dismissed for these particular things they have done that they cannot accept or submit. Is this not the root of their justifications and self-defense? A person like this speaks about being a devil and Satan, says they should be cursed and sent to hell, and repeatedly shouts out these slogans while continuing to argue and justify—do they truly know themselves? (No.) They repeatedly shout out that they are devils and Satans, yet they do not acknowledge any of their wrongdoings. Do they acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions? (No.) Why is it said that they do not acknowledge it? They all acknowledge that they are devils and Satans, so why do they not acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions? Which consequence is more severe—acknowledging that one has a corrupt disposition, or acknowledging that one is a devil and Satan? In fact, they understand in their hearts that acknowledging they are Satans and devils can mislead others and achieve a good result, and that people will not do anything to them. However, if they acknowledge their wrongdoings, or that they do not have humanity, people will shun and hate them. Therefore, they choose a poster-worthy slogan to mislead everyone and explain things away. Why do they shout out such taglines and slogans? What is the purpose? (It is that people will see how much they know themselves.) In one respect, they are flaunting their spirituality. In another respect, they think: “Everyone says that they are devils and Satans. If I say I’m a devil and Satan, I won’t have to bear any consequences and can even gain everyone’s approval. Why not do it?” Is that not the idea? Is this kind of knowing oneself not quite cunning? (Yes, it is misleading.) This is misleading and cheating by nature, and it bears the traits of a religious trickster! What do religious tricksters say? “We are all sinners; we have all sinned!” They do not say how they are bad or detail the bad things they have done. They also say: “We are all sinners, and we must repent. Look at how much precious blood the Lord Jesus shed for us!” What goal do they want to achieve with these words? It is to make themselves appear spiritual. They are showing off and making others think highly of them in order to achieve their goal of winning hearts and minds. Do those people who claim to acknowledge that they are devils and Satans also want to achieve this result? Is this not also their purpose? At first glance, it seems that they know themselves, and they appear to be people who genuinely repent, proclaiming themselves to be devils and Satans, to be children of hell, and deserving of death. How earnest their words are! But while they speak very earnestly, are they as earnest in what they actually do behind the scenes? Not at all. They employ a two-faced approach: On one hand, they publicly acknowledge that they are devils and Satans, but on the other, they go around defending and justifying themselves, explaining that they did nothing wrong. They say that they were treated unjustly by the Above, that the Above is not aware of the actual situation, and that in doing these things they have endured great hardship and grievance and paid a great price, and should not be treated this way. They say these things to gain more sympathy, to make more people mistakenly believe that they acknowledge themselves as devils and Satans and that they truly know themselves, that the Above was unfair to them, and that they were dismissed over a trivial matter. They make it seem that they know themselves and deserve to be leaders. They are actually vigorously defending and justifying themselves. Can these people who are good at disguising and justifying themselves and shouting out spiritual slogans truly know themselves? (They cannot.) Their so-called self-knowledge is just going through the motions, cheating others, and putting on a pretense all in order to leave a good impression on others. They do not genuinely come before God to repent and admit their guilt, and they do not accept God pruning them, exposing them, and disciplining or even dismissing them. They simply do not have such an attitude.

Nowadays, most people’s experience is too shallow, and their self-knowledge is too limited. Many only acknowledge the mistakes in their methods and their own faults, while few acknowledge their poor caliber, distorted comprehension, lack of spiritual understanding, and lack of humanity. Fewer still acknowledge that God’s words of exposure are absolute facts, that these words expose the truth of their own corruption, or that His words are entirely accurate and without any error. This is proof that people still do not truly know themselves. Not acknowledging that they live according to their satanic dispositions and satanic nature means that they do not truly know themselves. No matter which corrupt dispositions they reveal, they do not acknowledge them. They cover and wrap them up, preventing others from seeing their corruption. Such people are very good at disguising themselves and are hypocrites. Nowadays, most people are inclined toward the truth, and their state has somewhat improved, but they still do not truly know themselves. Many people consistently react to making a mistake by merely acknowledging that they were wrong in that instance. If you ask them, “Where exactly did you go wrong in this matter? Which truth principles did you violate? Which corrupt dispositions did you reveal?” they would reply, “This has nothing to do with corrupt dispositions. It was just a momentary lapse; I didn’t think it through and acted impulsively. It wasn’t my intention.” Their unintended actions and errors have become shields and excuses for the corrupt dispositions they have revealed. Is this a genuine acknowledgment of their own corruption? It is not. If you frequently make excuses or find reasons for the corrupt dispositions you reveal, then you cannot truly face your own corrupt dispositions, nor can you acknowledge or understand them. For example, a person performs their duties well for a period of time; their state is stable, whatever they do goes smoothly and without a hitch, and they produce some positive results and receive praise from others. They feel that they have made great contributions and that God should bestow rewards upon them. As a result, they reveal an arrogant and self-righteous corrupt disposition—they believe themselves to be better than others, and refuse to listen to and are unable to cooperate harmoniously with anyone. Before long, they make mistakes in the performance of their duties, and their brothers and sisters prune them and expose them, saying that they are too arrogant. They have difficulty accepting this fact and ponder incessantly over the matter: “I’m arrogant? I don’t think so. I didn’t brag about anything, so how could I have become arrogant?” They are stuck on the word “arrogant” and cannot get past it. Their inability to accept this word shows that they are without reason, do not know themselves at all, and do not acknowledge their own corrupt disposition. When something befalls you and you reveal a corrupt disposition, if someone criticizes you or prunes you, and says that what you did violates the truth principles, yet you only acknowledge your mistake in that particular matter, are unwilling to admit that it was a consequence caused by a revealed corrupt disposition, and are only willing to rectify the mistake without ever accepting the fact that you revealed a corrupt disposition, then you do not truly know yourself. Can acknowledging mistakes represent self-knowledge on its own? Self-knowledge refers to identifying the root cause of one’s mistakes and knowing one’s corrupt disposition. If you acknowledge that you have done something wrong, and afterward your behavior changes so that it seems like you no longer make the same mistake, but you have not cast off your corrupt disposition and the root cause of the mistake has not been resolved, then what would be the consequence? You would still inevitably reveal a corrupt disposition and rebel against and oppose God. Do not assume that a few behavioral changes equate to a change in your disposition. Knowing oneself is an endless matter; if one cannot know the root causes of their corrupt disposition or where the root of their rebellion against and opposition to God lies, then they cannot achieve a change in their disposition. This is what is difficult about changing one’s disposition. Why do many people who believe in God only change their behavior and not their life disposition? This is where the problem lies. If you acknowledge that what you reveal is a corrupt disposition which has caused you to act as you please, make arbitrary decisions, not cooperate harmoniously with others, and place yourself above others, and then after acknowledging these things you further acknowledge that they are caused by an arrogant disposition, what benefit will it bring you? It is only then that you will truly reflect on these matters, and recognize that a corrupt disposition is the root cause of opposing God, and is ironclad proof of Satan’s corruption of mankind. You will recognize that if one does not cast off this corrupt disposition, they are unworthy of being called human and unworthy of living before God. However, if you only acknowledge that you have done something wrong, what will be the consequence? You will only focus on and put effort into the way you do things and correcting them, how to do things so that they appear proper on the surface, and how to conceal the revelation of your arrogant disposition. You will become more and more deceitful and the methods you use to cheat others will become more and more sophisticated. You will think: “I made a mistake this time, and everyone saw it because I wasn’t careful. I won’t be like that next time.” The result is that while the way you do things has changed on the surface, and others cannot see any problems, you have hidden your corrupt disposition. What have you become? You have become more deceitful and become hypocritical. If one focuses on and puts effort into how they speak and act so that on the surface no one can see any problems or find fault with them and their actions seem flawless, but they do not change their corrupt disposition in the slightest, are they not becoming a Pharisee? While acting hypocritically might trick people, can it trick God? What exactly does pursuing the truth mean? Primarily, it refers to pursuing a change in one’s disposition. If one never knows their own corrupt disposition, then it is impossible for there to be a change in their disposition. At the same time as acknowledging that they have a corrupt disposition, they must also accept the truth, reflect on where exactly they went wrong and where they failed, and then seek the truth to resolve their problems. Only in this way can one gradually cast off their corrupt disposition, practice the truth in the performance of their duties, and act with principles. In doing this, they will enter into the truth reality. Only those who can seek and practice the truth are the ones who pursue the truth. They are the ones who can continuously put effort into practicing the truth and acting with principles, and who can summarize their experiences and draw lessons. Once they practice the truth and enter into reality, have principles in their actions, and make fewer mistakes, they will gradually become suitable for being used by God. If one is not someone who pursues the truth, no matter how they indulge in empty talk about knowing themselves, or how they characterize themselves as a devil and Satan, ultimately they still will not put the truth into practice. So, what is the difference between these two? One acknowledges their own corrupt disposition, seeks the truth principles, and practices in accordance with the truth—this is the path of pursuing the truth. The other does not acknowledge that they have a corrupt disposition and does not accept the fact of their own corrupt disposition, instead putting effort into the way they do things. However, this only changes their outward behavior, and there is no change in their life disposition, which makes their behavior more cheating. Is what these kinds of people practice in line with the truth principles? It entirely falls short of this and does not even scratch the surface. What they do is disguise, pretend, and cheat, and their goal is to cheat God’s chosen people. They do not practice the truth but still want everyone to praise them, approve of them, and endorse them so that they can have status in the church. Is this not a manifestation of disguise and cheating? They disguise and cover themselves and focus on how to gain the favor of others. Are there any truth principles in this way of doing things? Not at all—it is entirely based on the human mind’s imaginings, human methods, human philosophies for worldly dealings, and it is still living according to a satanic disposition. This practice of hypocrisy belongs to fake spirituality; it is cheating people and lacks even the slightest truth reality.

Why do some people, who also appear to be performing their duties like the others, suddenly come out of nowhere and shock people by committing great evil in the end? Can the occurrence of such a thing be brought about in just one or two days? Absolutely not. Three feet of ice cannot freeze in a single day. Outwardly, they seem well-behaved and simple, and no one can find fault with them, but in the end, the bad things they do are more extreme and astonishing than those done by anyone else. These things are done by these so-called “well-behaved” people. Do you know what common characteristic these kinds of people have? (They appear to have good behavior and usually seem quite well-mannered.) What they live out and their nature essence have two distinct characteristics—can you grasp these key points? (They do not love the truth or acknowledge their corrupt disposition. When they talk about knowing themselves, they are putting on a disguise and acting hypocritically.) Acting hypocritically is one aspect of this, so how can you discover and confirm that these people are hypocritical? How can you confirm that these good behaviors they are living out are just a pretense? (On the surface, they talk very nicely, but in their true actions, they protect their own interests without considering the interests of God’s house.) This is the specific manifestation of acting hypocritically. Although these hypocritical people speak nicely, they are actually cheating and misleading people. Additionally, they expose their selfishness and baseness, only protecting their own interests and not considering the interests of God’s house—they want to live like a whore while still expecting a monument to their chastity. All of this represents their nature essence, devoid of any humanity. I just mentioned that their nature essence has two distinct characteristics. The first characteristic is that these kinds of people often shout slogans and speak of doctrines as if they are deeply spiritual, but in fact they do not love the truth in the slightest, and without a love for the truth, it is impossible for them to practice it. Based on this point, is what you mentioned earlier about them only considering their own interests not one of these manifestations? Why do they consider their own interests? Do they love the truth? (They do not love the truth; they only like interests.) They only protect their own interests and do not at all consider the interests of God’s house or the brothers and sisters. Is this not the behavior of not loving the truth in the slightest? Some people say, “If they don’t love the truth, why do they always fellowship about things related to the truth?” How would you explain this? (They do it to impress others, disguise themselves, and dress themselves up.) This is one aspect of it, but besides this, are they actually fellowshipping about the truth? It is not the truth at all; it is just words and doctrines. If it is clearly just words and doctrines, then how can it be called the truth? Only fools would equate words and doctrines with the truth. Devils are highly skilled at speaking words and doctrines to mislead people, and they also want to pretend to be people who have the truth to cheat others and God. No matter how lofty the words and doctrines that people speak are, they are not the truth; only the words spoken by God are the truth. How can words and doctrines spoken by humans be mentioned in the same breath as the truth? They are two different things. This is the first aspect, that these people have absolutely no love for the truth. Is this aspect their nature essence? (Yes.) Why do we say it is their nature essence and not just a temporary revelation or behavior? It is because when we look at all of their revelations and behaviors, it can be concluded that their humanity essence is that they do not love the truth at all. Due to these various behaviors, it can be determined that they are people who do not love the truth. That is the first characteristic. Now, what is the second characteristic? It is that these people do not acknowledge their own corrupt dispositions at all. What does it mean that they do not acknowledge it at all? If it is said that they do not acknowledge their corrupt dispositions, then why do they always talk about knowing themselves? Not only do they talk about knowing themselves, but they also shamelessly help other people know themselves. They also often say they are not doing enough, that they owe God, that they are devils and Satans and deserve to be cursed. How can this be explained? (When they talk about knowing themselves, there is no true content or detail. For example, there is no practical content regarding which corruptions they have revealed, what wrong intentions they harbor, which corrupt dispositions they are controlled by, what specific manifestations they have, what nature essence they belong to, and so on. They merely vaguely state that they are devils and Satans without expressing genuine feelings and understanding.) (One result of truly knowing oneself is being able to truly hate oneself. These types of people verbally acknowledge their corruption but do not hate themselves at all in their hearts, and they also find all kinds of reasons to defend and justify themselves. Sometimes, they do not explain themselves outwardly, but they do not accept and acknowledge their corruption internally. They are entirely unable to accept the truth and do not change at all.) They do not acknowledge their own corruption—how can this be explained? (When something befalls them and they are revealed, they feel that they are incapable of doing such a thing, and so they do not acknowledge that they have this type of corrupt disposition.) These kinds of people always talk about knowing themselves, but what exactly do they know? Do they know their behaviors and manifestations, or do they know their corrupt dispositions? Or do they only know which things they have done wrong? There is a big difference between these types of knowledge. Some types of knowledge are true knowledge, while some are superficial and lack essence. Some people’s knowledge is even more shallow, and they only know which things they did wrong or acknowledge the things they have done that went against morality or the law. This is no different from religious people admitting their guilt to the Lord; it does not lead to genuine repentance. There are also some people who just speak some doctrines when they talk about knowing themselves, or imitate what others say about self-knowledge. This is an even greater form of disguise and cheating. Why do these people not truly know themselves? The most crucial reason is that they never accept the truth, so all of their actions and behaviors are based entirely on their own preferences, their own satanic philosophy, and their own interests, ambitions and desires. Deep in their hearts, they do not see their ambitions and desires as corrupt; anything that they need is not corrupt, so they do whatever they want, whatever they like. When judging this from the starting point of their actions, do they acknowledge their own corruptions? (They do not acknowledge them.) How do people who acknowledge their corruptions act? Do they act by seeking the truth principles, or do they just pray, contemplate, and do things according to what they think in their minds? Which of these do they follow? (They seek the truth principles.) So, from looking at the actions of those aforementioned kinds of people, it is evident that they always do whatever they want. They believe that God’s words are meant for others and they impart the doctrines they understand to others, which means that they make others act according to God’s words, implying that “you all reveal corruptions, but I seek the truth in everything I do and hardly reveal any corruptions.” Are these people who truly know themselves? They do not dare to acknowledge their own corruptions; this is the truth of the matter. They believe that paying a price, as well as speaking a bit more, enduring a little more suffering, or even forsaking and expending of themselves all in order to satisfy their ambitions and desires is all in line with the truth and is right. If you were to ask them, “Since all humans have corruptions, aren’t you afraid of being wrong when you think that way?” they would say: “No, it’s fine; I’m not afraid. I’m right in my intentions.” Look at how they regard their ambitions, desires and intentions as something positive. Do these kinds of people acknowledge their own corruptions? (No, they don’t acknowledge them.) From an objective perspective, they simply do not acknowledge their own corruptions. Can someone who does not acknowledge their own corruption genuinely repent? (No, they cannot.) They absolutely will not repent; they never will. Do they have true submission? (No.) Even less so. They do not even know what the truth is, so how can they submit? All that they submit to is their own ambitions and desires. They live their lives entirely by undertaking all matters according to their own desires, and they speak, act and choose their path based solely on their own will, without ever seeking the truth. Some people say: “They never seek the truth, so why do they listen to sermons?” Listening to sermons doesn’t necessarily mean they are able to seek the truth; it is just one aspect of believing in God. If they did not listen to sermons or attend gatherings, would they not then be revealed? So, this process is necessary for them to go through, but listening to sermons does not mean they are someone who accepts the truth or acknowledges their own corruption; one cannot make this inference. Acknowledging that one has corruption is not an easy thing, and it is difficult to do for people who do not love the truth.

We just mentioned that people who do not know themselves have two distinct characteristics: One is that they fundamentally do not love the truth, and the other is that they never acknowledge that they have corrupt dispositions. So, how far are you from knowing yourselves? (Right now, we still don’t know ourselves, and we haven’t reached the point of hating ourselves.) You are very far away. Knowing oneself primarily means knowing one’s corrupt disposition, one’s preferences, and one’s erroneous views and behaviors. This is the key, and other aspects of self-knowledge are secondary. You can only truly accept the truth and bring about genuine repentance when you acknowledge that you have a corrupt disposition, that you have all sorts of nature essences and revelations of corruptions that God has brought to light in people, and when you can list them specifically and acknowledge that these specific facts, behaviors, and revelations are all out of line with the truth, are all against God, and are all detested by Him. Nowadays, when people claim to accept the truth, they are just acknowledging it in doctrine and changing their behaviors to some extent. But after this, they still live out satanic corrupt dispositions and live according to Satan’s philosophy; they do not change at all. Changes in behavior do not represent changes in disposition. To transform one’s disposition, one must know their own nature essence and their own corrupt disposition—this is the starting step. One who only recognizes that their own actions are problematic, that they are not a good person, or that they are a devil and Satan is still far away from knowing their nature essence and transforming their disposition.

Excerpt 44

If people are to understand themselves, they must understand their corrupt disposition, and have a grasp of their true states. The most important aspect of understanding one’s own state is to have a grasp on one’s own thoughts and ideas. In every time period, people’s thoughts and ideas have been controlled by one major thing. If you can grasp your thoughts and ideas, you can grasp the things that are behind them. People cannot control their thoughts and ideas. However, you do need to know where these thoughts and ideas come from, what the motives behind them are, how these thoughts and ideas are produced, what controls them, and what their nature is. After a person’s disposition changes, the thoughts, ideas, views and the goals the person strives toward which are created by the part which changed, will be very different than before—essentially, they will approach the truth and be in accordance with the truth. The things within people that have not changed, that is to say, their old thoughts, ideas, and views, including the things that people like and pursue, are all utterly dirty, filthy, and hideous things. After a person understands the truth, they are able to discern these things, and see them clearly; therefore, they are able to give up and rebel against these things. People like this have definitely changed in some way. They are able to accept the truth, practice the truth, and enter into some truth realities. The people who do not understand the truth cannot see these corrupted or negative things clearly, nor discern them; therefore, they are unable to give them up, not to mention rebel against these things. What causes this difference? Why is it that they are all believers, but some of them can discern negative and unclean things, and give them up, while others cannot see these things clearly, nor free themselves from them? It is directly connected to whether the person loves and pursues the truth. When those who pursue the truth eat and drink God’s words for a period of time, and listen to sermons for a period of time, then they can understand the truth, and see certain things clearly; they have made progress in their life. By contrast, although those who do not love the truth attend gatherings, read God’s words, and listen to sermons just the same, they are not able to understand the truth, and no matter how many years they have believed, they have no life entry. These people failed because they did not pursue the truth. No matter how many years they have believed in God, those who do not pursue the truth are not able to understand the truth. When they encounter a situation they cannot see it clearly, almost as though they are a religious person. They have gained nothing from their years of faith. How much truth do you understand now? Which things can you see clearly? Can you discern negative things and people? You are not clear on what believing in God is, nor who it is that you actually believe in. You cannot clearly discern ideas and intentions you have in daily life, you are not fully aware of which path you should follow as a believer of God, and you are not clear on how you should practice the truth when you do things or perform your duty. These are people who do not have any life entry. Only by truly understanding the truth, and knowing how to practice the truth, can you discern different types of people, see different situations clearly, do things in accordance with the truth, be able to meet God’s requirements, and be increasingly closer to God’s will. Only by pursuing in this way will you gain results.

Excerpt 45

There are often some negative states within man. Among them, some states can influence people or constrain them. There are some states that can even make someone diverge from the true way and head off in the wrong direction. What people pursue, what they pay attention to, and what path they choose to take—these are all connected to their inner states. Whether people are weak or strong is even more directly connected with their inner states. For example, many people now lay particular emphasis on the day of God. They all have this desire: They yearn for the day of God to swiftly arrive so that they can extricate themselves from this suffering, these illnesses, this persecution, and other kinds of pain. People think that when the day of God arrives, they will be relieved of the pain they suffer now, that they will never again suffer hardships, and that they will enjoy blessings. If someone seeks to understand God or pursues the truth from within this kind of state, then their life progress will be very limited. When any setback or anything unpleasant befalls them, then all the weakness, the negativity, and the rebelliousness inside of them comes out. So, if someone’s state is abnormal or incorrect, then the goal of their pursuit will also be incorrect and will certainly be impure. You strive for entry from within incorrect states, yet you think you are doing well in your pursuit, that you are doing things in accordance with God’s requirements, and practicing in accordance with the truth. You don’t believe that you have gone against God’s intentions or deviated from His will. You may feel that way, but when some unpleasant event or environment causes you some suffering, touches on your weak spots, and the things you love and pursue deep in your heart, you will become negative, your hopes and dreams will come to nothing, and you will naturally become weak. So, your state at the time decides whether you are strong or weak. Right now, there are many people who feel that they are quite strong, that they have a bit of stature, and that they have more faith than they did before. They think that they have started on the right track of belief in God, and that they do not need other people to pull or push them along it. In this case, why do they become negative or weak when they face certain environments or encounter difficulties? Why, then, do they make complaints and end up giving up on their faith? This shows that there are some negative and abnormal states within everyone. Some of the impurities in man are not easy to let go of. Even if you are a person who pursues the truth, you cannot completely let go of them. This must be done based on the exposure of God’s word. After reflecting on and understanding their own states, people must compare them to God’s word, and resolve their corrupt dispositions. Only then will their states gradually change. It is not the case that, when people read God’s words, and come to know their states, they can immediately transform them. As long as people regularly read God’s words, see their own states clearly, and pray to God and strive toward the truth, then when they reveal corruption again , or when they are in an abnormal state in the future, they will be able to recognize it, and they will be able to pray to God, and use the truth to solve the problem, and their incorrect state can be reversed and they can gradually change. In this way, they will be able to let go of the impurities and those things that should be let go of that people harbor within themselves. People must have a certain level of experience before results can be achieved.

From the beginning of their belief in God, many people pursue blessings based on their notions and imaginings, and consequently become negative and weak when they encounter things that do not accord with their notions. They start to doubt God and even come up with notions or misconceptions about Him. If nobody fellowships on the truth with them, they will not be able to stand firm, and may betray God at any time. Let Me give you an example. Let’s say that someone has always harbored notions and imaginings in their belief in God. This person believes that, as long as he renounces his family and does his duty, God will protect and bless him, and look after the life of his family, and that this is what God should do. Then, one day something that he did not wish to happen befalls him—he falls sick. Living with his host family is not as comfortable as being in his own home, and perhaps they do not care for him very well. He cannot take it, and he becomes negative and disheartened for a long time. He also doesn’t pursue the truth, and he doesn’t even acknowledge the truth. This means that people have some states within them, and, if they do not recognize, perceive, or feel that these states are wrong, then although they may still have passion and pursue a lot, at some point they will encounter a circumstance that reveals their true internal state, and causes them to stumble and fail. This is what comes from not being able to reflect on or come to know yourself. All those who do not understand the truth are this way; you never know when they will stumble and fail, when they will be negative and weak, or when they could be capable of betraying God. Look how much danger those who do not understand the truth must face! But understanding the truth is not a simple matter. It takes a long time before you can finally gain a flicker of light, have a bit of true knowledge, and understand a bit of the truth. If the intentions within you are seriously adulterated and cannot be resolved, they will extinguish the small light of your understanding at all times, and even erode the small bit of faith you have, and this is certainly very dangerous. Right now, the main issue is that all people have certain notions and imaginings about God in their hearts, but before they are revealed, they don’t acknowledge them; they are hidden inside, and you never know at which time, or under what circumstances, they will come out and cause people to stumble. Although all people have good aspirations, and want to be good believers and gain the truth, their intentions are too adulterated, and they have too many notions and imaginings which greatly hinder them from pursuing the truth and gaining life entry. They want to do these things but they cannot. For example, it is hard for people to submit when they are pruned; when they are tested or refined, they want to argue with God. Whenever they fall ill or encounter some catastrophe, they complain about God for not protecting them. How can people like this experience God’s work? They do not even reach the minimum of having a heart of submission to God, so how can they gain the truth? Some people become negative when the smallest thing doesn’t go their way; they stumble on account of other people’s judgments, and betray God when they are arrested. It is true that one never knows what the future holds, whether it be happiness or ruin. Every person has something inside of them which they want to pursue and obtain; they have things that they like. Pursuing the things that they like could bring misfortune upon them, but they do not feel this, still believing that the things they strive for and like are right, and that there is nothing wrong with these things. But if there comes a day when misfortune strikes, and the things that they pursue and like are taken from them, they will become negative and weak, and unable to drag themselves to their feet. They will not know what happened, they will complain about God for being unfair, and their heart of betrayal against God will come out. If people do not know themselves, then they will not know where their Achilles’ heel is, nor will they know where it is easy for them to fail or stumble. It is truly pitiful. That is why we say that if a person does not know themselves, they could stumble or fail at any time, and bring about their own end.

Many people have said: “I understand every element of the truth, but I just can’t put them into practice.” This exposes the root of why people do not practice the truth. What kind of people understand the truth yet cannot put it into practice? Certainly, only people who are averse to and hate the truth cannot put it into practice, and this is a problem in their nature. Even if they don’t understand the truth, people who love the truth will act based on their conscience, and they will not do evil. If a person’s nature is averse to the truth, then they will never be able to practice the truth. People who are averse to the truth only believe in God to obtain blessings, not in order to pursue the truth and obtain salvation. Even if they do their duties, it is not for the sake of obtaining the truth, but entirely in order to obtain blessings. For example, some people who are persecuted and cannot return to their homes think in their hearts, “I am persecuted and cannot return home because of my belief in God. One day God will give me a better home; God will not let me suffer in vain,” or “Wherever I am, God will give me food to eat, and He will not let me walk down a dead-end road. If He were to let me walk down a dead-end road, then He would not be the real God. God would not do that.” Do such things not exist within man? There are also some people who think, “I have renounced my family to expend myself for God, and God should not deliver me into the hands of those in power; I have pursued with such fervor, God should protect and bless me. We so yearn for the day of God to arrive, so the day of God should come as soon as possible. God should fulfill the wishes of man.” Many people think this way—is this not man’s extravagant desire? People have always made extravagant demands of God, always thinking: “We have renounced our families to do our duties, so God should bless us. We have acted in accordance with God’s demands, so God should reward us.” Many people harbor such things in their hearts while believing in God. They see other people walking away from their families and renouncing everything in order to expend themselves for God so effortlessly, and they think, “They have left their families for such a long time, how do they not miss home? How do they overcome this? How come I can’t overcome this? How come I can’t let go of my family, husband (or wife), and children? How come God is gracious to them and not gracious to me? Why does the Holy Spirit not bestow grace upon me or reside with me?” What state is this? People are so lacking in reason; they do not practice the truth and then they complain about God, and they do not do what they should do. People should choose the path of pursuing the truth, but they are averse to the truth, they crave fleshly pleasures, and they always seek to obtain blessings and enjoy grace, all the while complaining that God’s demands of man are too excessive. They keep asking God to be gracious to them and to bestow more grace upon them, and to allow them to feel fleshly pleasure—are they people who sincerely believe in God? They think, “I have renounced my family to do my duty and I have suffered so much. God should be gracious to me, so that I don’t miss home and so that I have the resolve to renounce. He should give me strength, then I will not become negative and weak. Other people are so strong, God should make me strong too.” These words that people speak completely lack reason and faith. They are all spoken because people’s extravagant demands have not been fulfilled, which has made them dissatisfied with God. These are all things that they reveal from their hearts, and they completely represent people’s nature. These things exist within people, and if they are not cast off, they can lead people to complain about and misunderstand God at any time or place. People will be likely to blaspheme against God, and they may desert the true way at any moment and in any place. This is very natural. Do you now see this matter clearly? People must know the things that their natures reveal. This is a very serious matter which needs to be approached carefully, because this touches upon the issue of whether or not people can stand firm in their witness, and the issue of whether or not they can obtain salvation in their belief in God. As for people who understand a bit of the truth, if they realize that they are revealing these things, and if, when they discover this problem, they can examine it and dig it out, then they will be able to solve the problem. If they do not realize that they are revealing these things, then there is no way for them to solve this problem, and they can only wait for the exposure of God or for the revelation of the facts. People who do not love the truth do not value self-examination. They always believe that it is an insignificant matter, and will indulge themselves, thinking, “Everyone is like this—complaining a little is no big deal. God will forgive it and God will not remember it.” People do not know how to self-reflect or how to seek the truth to resolve problems, they cannot practice any of these things. They are all muddledheaded, and especially lazy, as well as dependent and prone to indulging in fantasies. They yearn: “One day God will bring about a thorough change in us, and then we will no longer be lazy like this, we will become completely holy, and we will look up to the might of God.” This is a fanciful thing to imagine, and it is really unrealistic. If a person can utter this kind of notion and imagining after hearing so many sermons, then they do not have knowledge of God’s work, and to this day, they have still not clearly seen how God saves people. People like this are incredibly ignorant. Why does the house of God always fellowship about knowing oneself and knowing God’s disposition? This is crucial for every person. If you can really clearly see how God saves people, then you should focus on knowing yourself, and you should engage regularly in self-reflection—only then will you have real life entry. When you realize that you are revealing corruption, will you be able to seek the truth? Will you be able to pray to God, and rebel against the flesh? This is a prerequisite for practicing the truth, and it is a crucial step. If, in everything that happens to you, and in everything you do, you can be cognizant of how to practice in a way that accords with the truth, it will be easy for you to put the truth into practice, and you will have life entry. If you aren’t able to know yourself, how can your life progress? If, no matter how negative and weak you are, you don’t self-reflect and come to know yourself, or pray to God, then this only proves that you do not love the truth, that you are not a person who pursues the truth, and that you will never be able to obtain the truth.

Previously, some people thought: “We yearn for the swift downfall of the great red dragon and we hope that the day of God will come quickly. Are these not legitimate demands? Is yearning for the day of God to come soon not the same as yearning for glory to be brought to God as quickly as possible?” They covertly find some nice-sounding ways to express this, but actually, they are only hoping for these things for themselves. What would they yearn for, if they weren’t doing it for their own sake? All that people yearn for is to be quickly freed from their miserable surroundings and this painful world. There are some people in particular who see the promises given before to the firstborn sons of God and they have an incredible thirst for this. Whenever they read those words, it is like they are quenching their thirst by looking at a mirage. The selfish desires within man have not yet been entirely relinquished, so no matter how you pursue the truth, it will only ever be half-hearted. Many people who do not pursue the truth always yearn for the day of God to arrive so that they can be relieved of their suffering and enjoy the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. When it doesn’t arrive, they burn with pain, and some people shout out: “When will the day of God arrive? I still haven’t got married yet, I can’t keep waiting anymore! I have to show filial piety to my parents, I can’t take it anymore! I still need to have children so that they can take care of me when I get old! The day of God should hurry up and arrive! Let’s all pray for it together!” How can those people who pursue the truth follow all the way up until now without a single complaint? Are they not guided by the word of God, and supported by the word of God? There are so many impurities within people, is it workable for them to not accept refinement? Without suffering, how can they change? People must be refined to a certain extent, and be willing to let God orchestrate them, without a single further complaint—that is when they will be completely changed.

Excerpt 46

In corrupt mankind, people’s nature essence is the same, apart from reincarnated demons or those possessed by evil spirits. Some people always like to study what spirits different kinds of people have inside them, but this isn’t realistic; focusing on this can easily lead to deviations. Some people always feel there’s something wrong with their spirit because they experienced some supernatural events, while others think their spirit has a problem because they can never change. In fact, regardless of whether one’s spirit has a problem, human nature is the same—it resists and betrays God. The extent of people’s corruption is pretty much the same too, as are the commonalities in their nature. Some people always suspect that something is wrong with their spirit and wonder, “How could I do such a thing? I never would have thought! Is something wrong with my spirit?” They even doubt whether they’ve been chosen by God, and as a result they become ever more negative. Some people comprehend things purely and, no matter what they have done, they only focus on seeking the truth and reflecting on themselves in accordance with God’s words: “How could I do this? What disposition did I reveal? What nature controls it? How can I act in line with the truth?” By reflecting on yourself like this, it’s easy to understand the truth and find a path of practice, as well as achieve self-knowledge. Everyone’s methods and paths of self-examination are different; some focus on seeking the truth and knowing themselves, while others always focus on vague and unrealistic things, which makes it difficult to progress and easy to get stuck in negativity. You need to understand now that no matter what your spirit is, no one can see nor touch things of spirit, so paying too much attention to this will just get in the way of things. The key thing to focus on is mankind’s nature essence, which is related to discerning people, and if you can discern people’s nature essence, then you can discern people themselves. Seeing clearly what things exist in one’s nature essence, what corrupt dispositions can be revealed, and what aspects of the truth are needed to solve them—this is what’s most important to focus on when believing in God. Only by experiencing God’s work in this way can one gain the truth and cleanse their corrupt disposition. But how to know oneself? How to know one’s own nature? One can see what their nature essence is according to the dispositions they reveal through their actions, so the key to knowing oneself is to know one’s own corrupt disposition. Only through this will one be able to understand their nature essence, and to see this clearly is to thoroughly understand oneself. Knowing oneself is a profound task, and the key to whether someone can be saved is how they know themselves. Only when someone really knows themselves can they truly repent, easily accept the truth, and step onto the path to salvation. It is impossible for those who don’t know themselves to accept the truth, much less truly repent. The key issue, therefore, is to understand one’s own corrupt disposition. Absolutely do not pursue false spirituality; always focusing on what someone’s spirit is makes it easy to deviate and easy to misguide or harm people. It’s realistic for people to focus on knowing themselves, understanding their corrupt disposition, and seeing man’s nature essence clearly, and all of this will be advantageous to solving the problem of corrupt disposition and to people pursuing the truth and attaining God’s salvation.

Mankind’s nature essence, after their corruption by Satan, is basically the same, with only minor differences. This is because all have the same ancestor, live in the same world, and have experienced the same corruption. They all have the same things in common. Yet, some people are capable of doing one kind of thing in one environment, and some people are capable of doing another kind of thing in another environment; some people are somewhat cultured, having been educated, and some people are uncultured, having not been educated; some people have one kind of view on things, others have another kind of view on things; some live in one kind of social environment, and some live in another kind of social environment, and they have different inherited customs and living habits. The essence of the things that are revealed within man’s nature, however, is all the same. So there’s no need for you to always concern yourself with what kind of spirit you possess, or always worry whether it’s an evil spirit. This is something that man cannot reach; only God can know this, and it would be of no use for man to know it even if they could. There’s no benefit in always wanting to dissect or deliberate over one’s spirit; this is something done by the most ignorant and muddleheaded of people. Don’t doubt yourself when you do something wrong or transgress in some way, saying: “Is there something wrong with my spirit? Is this the work of an evil spirit? How could I do such a ridiculous thing?” No matter what you do, you should look to your nature for the root of the problem, and seek the truths that people should enter. If you examine your spirit, then you will come up empty-handed—even if you come to know what kind of spirit you have within you, you still won’t be able to know your own nature, nor be able to solve your problems. Therefore, some people are always talking about what spirit they have as though they are exceptionally spiritual or professional, when in fact they are even more amateur and foolish. Some people speak especially spiritually, thinking that the words they say are so profound, and that ordinary people won’t understand them. They say, “It is crucial that we examine what our spirits are. If we don’t have human spirits, then even though we may believe in God, we cannot be saved. We must not let God develop an aversion toward us.” Some people become poisoned and misled when they hear this, feeling deeply that these words are reasonable, and begin to examine what kind of spirit they have. Because they pay such particular attention to their spirit, they get neurotic, examining their spirit when doing anything, and eventually they discover a problem: “Why do I go against the truth in everything I do? Why don’t I have even a shred of humanity or reason? I must be an evil spirit.” In fact, with a bad nature and without the truth, how can man do anything that is in line with the truth? No matter how good their actions are, they are still not putting the truth into practice, and are still hostile to God. Man’s nature is bad and has been corrupted and processed by Satan; they simply have no human likeness, they utterly rebel against God and resist Him, and are so far from God that they cannot possibly do anything that accords with God’s will. There is nothing within man’s innate nature that is compatible with God. This is all obvious.

Some people are always overly sensitive and attach great importance to whether they have spiritual understanding, or to which type of spirit they belong, all while setting aside the matter of understanding their nature. This is like picking up sesame seeds only to lose a watermelon. Isn’t it foolish to seize onto the illusory while neglecting the real? In these years of study, have you thoroughly understood things of the spirit or matters of the soul? Have you seen what your spirit is like? If you don’t dig into the stuff of the nature essence deep in your soul and instead always study your spirit, will your study produce any results? Isn’t this like a blind man lighting a candle and wasting the wax? You lay aside your real difficulties and you don’t think about how they can be resolved, you always employ crooked methods and are always deliberating about what kind of spirit you have, but can this resolve any problem? If you believe in God but don’t pursue the truth, never engaging in honest work but always studying your spirit, then you are the most foolish person. Truly intelligent people have the following attitude: “No matter what God does or how He treats me, no matter how profoundly corrupted I am or what my humanity is like, I will be unswerving in my determination to pursue the truth and to seek to know God.” Only by knowing God can one resolve their corrupt disposition and fulfill their duty to satisfy God’s will; this is the direction for human life, it is what humans should be seeking to achieve, and it is the one and only path to salvation. Now, what’s realistic is pursuing the truth, knowing your own corrupt nature, understanding the truth to cast off your corrupt disposition, and being able to perform your duty well to God’s satisfaction. Entering into the truth reality and living out the likeness of a genuine person—this is what’s realistic. What’s realistic is loving God, submitting to God, and bearing testimony to God. These are the results God wants. It is useless to research things that can neither be touched nor seen. They have nothing to do with what’s realistic, and also have nothing to do with the effects of God’s work. As you now exist in a physical body, you must pursue understanding the truth, performing your duty well, being an honest person, and changing your disposition. These are all things that most people can achieve.

Some people obviously have the work of evil spirits and might be possessed by them. Can someone like this be saved by believing in God? This is hard to say, and depends on whether they act reasonably and have a normal mental state. The most important thing is whether or not they can understand the truth and put it into practice. If they cannot meet this criterion, then there’s no way they can be saved. Now you all have normal reason, speak normally, and have not experienced any supernatural or abnormal phenomena. While sometimes your states are a little abnormal and some of your ways of doing things are wrong, these are all revelations of human nature. In fact, this is the same for other people—it’s just that the background and timing of their revelations differ. It seems that now you have a little stature, and after hearing others talk about matters and statements of spirit, you imitate and follow along, as if you understand matters of the spirit so well yourself and are such a great person. Only God knows and controls matters of the spiritual realm, and it’s good enough if people can understand even a little from His words, so how could anyone thoroughly understand the spiritual realm? Is it not easy to go astray by always pondering such things? People nowadays all have this state within them. Although you may not always be seriously discussing these matters, and you may not become weak or fall down because of them, you can still be temporarily affected by those words of others. Though you may not pay much attention to this kind of matter, you are still susceptible to focusing on the things of spirit in your heart, and should the day come when you genuinely do some things wrong, suffering a setback and stumble, you should then doubt yourself, saying: “Is my spirit also wrong?” You usually never doubt, and think others absurd when you see them mired in doubt. But if a day comes when you are pruned, or someone else says you are Satan, or that you are an evil spirit, then you will believe it, and just like them you’ll become mired in doubt, unable to extricate yourself. In fact, most people are susceptible to this problem, seeing matters of the spirit as incredibly important and neglecting matters like understanding their own nature or life entry. This makes them utterly divorced from reality and it is an experiential deviation.

You should all pay attention to knowing your own nature, and which aspects of your nature can easily cause you to do wrong things or go astray, and you should, on this basis, summarize experience and lessons. Particularly in terms of serving, life experience, and knowing your own nature, only by gradually developing deeper knowledge will you be able to grasp your own state and grow in the correct direction. If you can possess these aspects of the truth, and make them your inner life, then you will be much more steady, no longer make irresponsible and arbitrary remarks about things you don’t understand, focus on the reality of your words, and fellowship about real things. When people gain a deeper knowledge of their own nature and a deeper understanding of the truth, they will then speak more with a sense of propriety, and will no longer speak arbitrarily. Those who are without the truth are always simple-minded, and they dare to say anything; there are even some people who, when they are spreading the gospel, for the sake of gaining a few more people, don’t hesitate to follow religious people and speak blasphemy against God. They have no idea what they are, nor have any understanding of their own nature, and they do not fear God. Some people believe this isn’t a big deal, but is it really not a big deal? When a day comes when they recognize the seriousness of the problem, they will become afraid. What a terrible thing it is to have done this! They can’t see through to the essence of this matter, and they even think themselves so wise and that they understand everything; but they are unaware that they offend God and are unaware of how they will perish. It is futile for you to understand all matters to do with hell or the spiritual realm if you don’t know your own nature. The key now is to resolve the difficulties of knowing oneself and knowing one’s nature essence. You must grasp every one of the states revealed by your nature—if you cannot do this, then any other understanding is useless; it’s all useless no matter how much you dissect yourself to see what kind of spirit or soul you have. The key is to grasp the various things in your nature which actually exist within you. Now, no matter what spirit is within you, you are now a person with normal thinking, so you should pursue understanding and accepting the truth. If you can understand the truth, then you should act in accordance with the truth—this is man’s duty. Deliberating over matters of the spirit is simply of no use to you, and is futile and of no benefit. Nowadays, people who have the work of evil spirits are being revealed at churches all over. These people still have hope if they can comprehend the truth, but if they cannot comprehend nor accept the truth then they can only be cleared out. If one can comprehend the truth, it shows that they still have normal reason, and if they understand more truths, then Satan will not be able to mislead or control them, and there is hope that they can be saved. If they are possessed by demons and most of the time their reason is not very normal, then they’re completely done for and must be cleared out to avoid inviting trouble. For anyone with relatively normal reason, no matter what spirit they have inside, as long as they have a little spiritual understanding, and they can understand and accept the truth, they have hope for salvation. Although man might not have the faculty to accept the truth, if one listens effectively to sermons, is able to understand and comprehend when fellowshipping on the truth, and has normal thinking and is not absurd, then they have hope of achieving salvation. But I’m afraid that there will be people who lack spiritual understanding or don’t understand human words, and who cannot understand no matter how others fellowship the truth with them; these people are troublesome and cannot even work as service-doers. Moreover, those who believe in God should only focus on the truth and their pursuit of it. They should not keep focusing on talking about, studying, or understanding the spirit. This is absurd and ridiculous. The key now is whether someone can accept the truth, understand the truth, and enter realities. This is key, but whether one can know themselves and reflect on themselves, and whether they are someone who understands their own nature is most critical! It’s meaningless and especially worthless to study what your own spirit is. If you always study things like what your own spirit is, what’s going on with your soul, what spirit you have, whether yours is a high-grade or a low-grade spirit, from which spirit have you been reincarnated, how many times you’ve come before, what your ultimate outcome will be, or what the future holds—always studying these things will interfere with the important matters. Even if you study them thoroughly, when one day others understand the truth and enter realities, you will have nothing. You will have interfered with the important matters and brought it on yourself. You will have taken the wrong path and believed in God in vain. Who will you blame then? It’s useless to blame anyone; it’s all caused by your own ignorance.

Excerpt 47

Do you see clearly now how to follow God and walk the path of pursuing the truth? What exactly is believing in God and following God all about? Is it about renouncing a few things, being able to expend oneself for God and endure a bit of suffering, and following God to the end of the road, and that’s it? Can one gain the truth by following God in this way? Can one obtain salvation? Are you clear about these things in your hearts? Some people think that once a person has experienced being judged, chastised, and pruned, or after their true colors have been revealed, their outcome is set, and they are destined to have no hope of salvation. Most people cannot see this matter clearly, they hesitate at the crossroads, not knowing how to walk the path ahead. Doesn’t this mean that they still lack true knowledge of God’s work? Do those who always have doubts about God’s work and God’s salvation of man have any true faith at all? Ordinarily, when some people have yet to be pruned and have not suffered any setbacks, they feel that they should pursue the truth and satisfy God’s will in their faith. However, as soon as they take a bit of a blow or any difficulties arise, out comes their betraying nature, which is loathing to see. Afterward, they, too, feel it loathing, and ultimately pass a verdict on their own outcome, saying, “It’s all over for me! If I’m capable of doing such things, doesn’t that mean I’m done for? God will never save me.” Many people are in this state. It could even be said that everyone is like this. Why do people pass verdicts on themselves like this? It proves that they still do not understand God’s intention to save mankind. Being pruned just once can lead to you falling into negativity for a long period of time, unable to pull yourself out, to the extent that you may even give up your duty; even just a minor scenario can scare you into no longer pursuing the truth, and getting stuck. It is as if people are only enthusiastic in their pursuit when they feel they are flawless and without blemish, yet when they discover they are overly corrupt, they do not have the heart to continue pursuing the truth. Many people have spoken words of frustration and negativity such as, “It’s definitely over for me; God will not save me. Even if God forgives me, I can’t forgive myself; I can never change.” People do not understand God’s will, which shows they still do not know His work. In fact, it’s natural for people to sometimes reveal certain corrupt dispositions throughout their experiences, or to act in an adulterated manner, or irresponsibly, or perfunctorily and without loyalty. This is because people have corrupt dispositions; this is the inexorable law. Were it not for these revelations, why would they be called corrupt human beings? If human beings were not corrupt, then God’s work of salvation would be meaningless. The problem now is that, because people do not understand the truth or truly understand themselves, and because they cannot see their own states clearly, they need God to express His words of exposure and judgment in order to see the light. Otherwise, they would remain numb and dull-witted. If God did not work in this way, people would never change. Regardless of the difficulties that befall you at every stage, I will fellowship with you about the truth, providing clarity and guidance, and so long as you are able to enter onto the right track, that’s enough. Otherwise, people will always veer to extremes. They will always go down dead-end paths, lacking a way forward, and passing verdicts on themselves as they walk on. When people are just beginning to experience God’s work, they do not yet understand themselves. And after failing and being revealed several times, they ultimately pass a verdict on themselves. They say: “I am a devil; I am a Satan! It’s all over for me. There’s no chance I’ll ever be saved. I am beyond salvation.” People are indeed too fragile and quite difficult to deal with, and will veer to extremes as they walk on. When people cannot see that their corruption runs so deep, that they are devils, they become arrogant and self-righteous; they believe they have endured countless hardships, that they are people who love God and that they are qualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. However, when people realize the depth of their corruption, that they have not been living out human likeness, but are devils and Satans, they abandon themselves to despair and feel as though they are beyond hope; that they must have been condemned by God, and revealed and cast out. People are arrogant and self-righteous when they do not understand themselves, and they abandon themselves to despair when they do. That is how troublesome and difficult people are. If they can accept the truth, if one day they truly come to understand God’s will, they will say: “My corruption was this deep all along and I have finally recognized it. Fortunately, God saves me, and now I can see a brilliant life and can walk on the correct path of life. I don’t know how I can thank God.” It is like waking up from a dream and seeing the light. Have they not received great salvation? Should they not praise God? Some people do not understand themselves even when death is near; they are still arrogant and can’t accept the revelation of the facts. They feel that they are quite good: “I am a good person; how could I have done that?” It seems as if they have been wrongly accused. Some people go through years of God’s work and in the end, they still don’t understand their natures. They always think that they are good people and that they made a mistake in a moment of confusion, and even to this day, when they are cast out, they do not submit. This kind of person is too arrogant and ignorant and simply doesn’t accept the truth. They will never be able to transform and become human beings. From this you can discover that even though people’s natures are in resistance and betrayal to God, there are differences in their natures. This requires a deeper understanding of people’s natures.

There are certain common traits within people’s natures that must be understood. All people are capable of betraying God—this is a common trait—however, each individual has their own vital weakness. Some people love power, others status; some worship money, while others worship material pleasures. These are differences in people’s natures. Some people are able to stand firm despite enduring many hardships after coming to believe in God, while others become negative, complain, and fail to stand firm when facing a little bit of hardship. So, why is it then, that despite them both believing in God, and both eating and drinking the word of God, their reactions vary when things befall them? This illustrates that, even though deeply corrupt humans all have the nature of Satan, the quality of their humanity varies. Some people are averse to and hate the truth, while others are able to love and accept it. Some people’s displays of corrupt dispositions are more severe, while others’ are less so. Some people are a bit more kind-hearted, while others are very vicious. Although their words, behavior, and manifestations may differ, their corrupt dispositions are the same; they are all corrupt humans that are of Satan. This is a common trait between them. A person’s nature defines who they are. While there are commonalities from person to person in terms of their nature, each individual must be treated differently according to their essence. For example, evil lusts are a common trait shared by all people. Everyone possesses these things and cannot easily overcome them. However, some people have particularly strong inclinations in this regard. Whenever people like this encounter temptations involving the opposite sex, they succumb to them. Their hearts become possessed and they fall into temptation; they are ready to run off with another person at any time and betray God. Thus, it can be said that these people have evil natures. When some people face this kind of thing, even if they exhibit a bit of weakness or reveal some evil lusts, they will not do anything out of line. They are capable of exercising restraint and evading this kind of situation; they can rebel against the flesh and shun temptation. Thus, it cannot be said that their nature is evil. Human beings live in the flesh, so they have evil lusts; but some people are arbitrary and rash, they indulge their lust, and even do things that disturb and disrupt the work of the church. However, some people are not like this. They are able to pursue the truth and act according to it, and they can rebel against the flesh. Although people all have lusts of the flesh, they do not behave in the same way. This is how people’s nature essences differ. Some people are greedy for money. Whenever they see money or nice things, they want to take them for themselves. They have a particularly strong desire to acquire these things. These people are greedy by nature. They covet whatever material possessions they see, and they even dare to steal or misuse God’s offerings—they even dare to touch sums of thousands or tens of thousands of RMB. The more money there is, the bolder they become. They completely lack hearts that are afraid of God. This is a greedy nature. Some people have uneasy consciences after spending a few RMB, or a few dozen RMB of the church’s money. They quickly kneel before God to pray with tears of remorse, begging God’s forgiveness. We cannot say that people like this are greedy for money, because everyone has corrupt dispositions and weaknesses, and these people’s ability to truly repent proves that their actions were merely a revelation of their corrupt dispositions. Some people are judgmental of others. They will say, “Since this person spent a few RMB of the church’s money this time, it could be dozens of RMB next time. They’re certainly a person who steals offerings and should be cleared out.” Speaking in this manner has a bit of a judgmental nature to it. People have corrupt dispositions, so they will surely reveal their corruption and do many bad things. This is normal, but a person revealing their corruption is not the same as somebody having the nature of an evil person. Although these two types of people may do some of the same things, they are different in nature. For example, while a person walks the path of pursuing the truth and seeks to be an honest person, they inevitably reveal lies, deceitfulness, or trickery from time to time, whereas lying and deceitfulness are part of a devil’s nature, and it will lie all the time and about everything. Although both may exhibit lying behavior, the essence of a devil and that of someone who pursues the truth are fundamentally different. Is it appropriate, then, to label people who seek to be honest as devils and Satans, just because of a momentary revelation of corruption? Having committed the transgression of lying or tricking others does not mean that they are devils who always lie and trick others. Because people’s nature essences are not the same, we cannot lump them all in together. Comparing someone who has committed a momentary transgression with a devil is a form of arbitrary judgment and condemnation. This is the thing that harms people the most. If you lack discernment and cannot see things clearly, then you must not speak blindly or indiscriminately apply regulations, otherwise you will harm others. People who lack spiritual understanding and like to adhere to regulations are most likely to judge and condemn others. People who do not understand the truth speak and act without principles, and people speaking carelessly and arbitrarily judging and condemning others benefits neither themselves nor others.

You do not know in your hearts what goal a person must reach in their belief in God in order to be in accordance with His will. Very few people are able to believe in God completely in accordance with His requirements. There are too many problems within you, and perhaps you have not yet realized them and are not yet clear about them. This shows that you still do not understand the truth, that you are unable to reflect on yourselves, and that you have not yet uncovered, and are still unable to dissect, the various thoughts and aspects of your nature that lie within you. Someday, when you have heard many sermons, and have experience, you will understand the truth. Only then will you be capable of true self-knowledge. Though you truly believe in God, you have not yet cast off your corrupt dispositions, and there are still many superficial things within your nature, you still like to wear nice clothes and enjoy nice things. When some people wear nice clothes or get a nice cell phone, their tone of voice changes; when some women wear high heels, the way they walk changes, and they no longer know who they are. When it comes to what things people harbor in their hearts, and what nature it is that makes them reveal these wicked, ugly, and superficial things, people need to come to know their own corrupt dispositions and the things within their own nature. Though people can feel these corrupt dispositions, they cannot resolve them, they can only rely on their own will to restrain them and stop them from being revealed externally. As their experiences deepen, as their knowledge of their nature and all aspects of the truth deepens, and as they gradually understand and enter into God’s requirements, people’s corrupt dispositions and aspects of their nature slowly begin to change. At first, their self-knowledge is very shallow. They can acknowledge their corrupt dispositions, but they aren’t able to seek the truth and come to know the essence of their corruption. When they acquire a bit of knowledge, they want to restrain themselves and rebel against the flesh through hard work and achieve results, but their efforts turn out to be in vain, and they still can’t see through to the root of the problem. When they come to truly understand the truth later on, and thoroughly know their corrupt dispositions, they begin to hate themselves. At that time, they do not need to put a great deal of effort into rebelling against the flesh, they can proactively practice the truth, and act according to the principles. Although, at times, they do not completely understand the truth, at least they can act based on their conscience and reason. When people first begin experiencing God’s words, they all encounter difficulties; because they don’t understand the truth, and don’t know to take the principles as their basis, they always ask how to do this thing or that thing, and can only abide by regulations. Moreover, people are always disturbed by negative states, and sometimes have no way forward. When it comes to negative states, people should resolve through fellowship those that can be resolved through fellowship. As for those that cannot be resolved through fellowship, you can ignore them. You should focus instead on practicing and entering normally, and fellowship on the truth more. One day, when you understand the truth clearly, and see through many things, your negative states will naturally disappear. Haven’t your old, negative states already disappeared now? At the very least, you experience a lot less of them than before. Just focus on working hard at pursuing the truth, and you will be able to resolve all your problems. When you can resolve your own problems, you will have made progress and you will have grown. When people experience until the day that their outlook on life, and the meaning and basis of their existence, have entirely changed, when they have been altered to their very bones and have become someone else, is this not incredible? This is a great change, an earth-shattering change. Only when you become disinterested in the fame, gain, status, money, pleasure, power and glory of the world, and can easily forgo them, will you have the likeness of a human being. Those who will ultimately be made complete by God are a group such as this; they live for the truth, live for God, and live for that which is just. This is the likeness of a true human being.

Some people will ask, “What exactly is a human being?” None of the people nowadays are human beings. If they aren’t human beings, what are they? You could say that they are animals, beasts, Satans, or devils; in any case, they are merely cloaked in human skin, but cannot be called human beings, because they do not possess normal humanity. To call them animals comes a little close, but people possess language, minds, and thoughts, and people can engage in science and manufacturing, so they can only be listed as higher animals. However, people have been too deeply corrupted by Satan, they have long since lost their consciences and reason, and they do not submit to or fear God at all. It is completely appropriate to call them devils and Satans. Because their nature is of Satan, and they reveal satanic dispositions, and express satanic views, it is more fitting to call them devils and Satans. People have been too deeply corrupted and they do not have much human likeness. They are like beasts and animals, they are devils. Right now, people are not one thing or the other, they resemble neither human beings nor demons, and they do not possess true human likeness. After many years of experience, some long-term believers gain a bit of intimacy with God, and can more or less understand God a little, and more or less worry about the things that God worries about, and more or less think about the things that God thinks about—this means that they have a little bit of the appearance of a human, and are semi-formed. New believers have not yet experienced being chastised and judged, or much pruning, they also haven’t heard much of the truth, they have just read God’s words, but possess no true experience. As a result, they fall far short. The depth of a person’s experience determines how much they change. The less you experience God’s words, the less you will understand the truth. If you have no experience at all, then you are an intact, living Satan, and you are a devil, plain and simple. Do you believe this? You will understand those words one day. Are there any good people now? If people don’t have a human appearance, how can we call them human beings? Calling them good people is even more out of the question. They just have a human shell, but they do not have a human essence, it would not be an exaggeration to call them beasts in human clothing. If someone wants to become a person with human likeness through experiencing God’s work, then they must go through the exposure, chastisement, and judgment of God’s words, only then can they ultimately achieve change. This is the path; if God didn’t do this, people would not be able to change. God must act in this way, little by little. People must experience judgment and chastisement and constant pruning, and the ways in which they reveal their corrupt dispositions must be exposed. People can only embark on the right path when they are able to reflect on themselves and understand the truth. It is only after a period of experience and coming to understand some truths that people have some certainty of being able to stand firm. I see that you are all still too small in stature, you understand too little of the truth, and cannot perform your duties adequately. Though you appear to be busying yourselves very actively in your duties, in actuality, you are all on the brink of danger. I cannot see that you possess any of the truth realities, and it’s hard to say whether you are people who pursue the truth. This puts you in great danger. I have spoken words like these many times, but lots of people don’t understand what they mean. Some people say: “I have so much enthusiasm in my belief in God now, I won’t stumble or lose my way. God treats me with such grace, I’m not in any danger.” God treats every person with grace, and protects them, but you have not entered into the truth realities, so you are naturally in danger. When faced with trials, can you guarantee that you’ll be able to stand firm? No person dares to give this kind of guarantee. Many people are just able to speak about some words and doctrines. This does not mean that they understand the truth, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they have real stature, and yet they think that they’ve almost made it. If a person can say such a thing, it shows that they fall far short. Every person who doesn’t possess the truth realities is living on the brink of danger. This is absolutely true.

Excerpt 48

Of those who believe in God, what kind of person is least likely to be saved, and what kind of nature is most likely to lead to destruction? Do you see this clearly? Whether one is a leader or a follower, what is man’s common nature? The common element within human nature is betrayal of God; every single person is capable of betraying God. What is betrayal of God? What are its manifestations? Is it only those who stop believing in God who betray Him? People must understand what man’s essence is, and grasp the root of it. Your temper tantrums, flaws, bad habits, or lack of upbringing are all superficial aspects. If you always cling to these trivial things, recklessly applying regulations and failing to grasp what is essential, leaving the things inherent in your nature and your corrupt disposition unresolved, you will ultimately still go astray and end up resisting God. People can betray God anytime and anywhere—this is a serious problem. Perhaps for a while, you might have a bit of a God-loving heart, enthusiastically expend yourself, and perform your duties with a bit of loyalty; or you might have perfectly normal reason and a conscience during this period, but people are unstable and fickle, capable of resisting and betraying God at any moment and anywhere due to a single incident. For example, someone could possess perfectly normal reason, have the work of the Holy Spirit, practical experience, a burden, and loyalty in performing their duty, but just when their faith is particularly strong, God’s house expels an antichrist whom they worship, and they start to have notions. They immediately become negative, lose their enthusiasm for their work, perform their duty perfunctorily, no longer wish to pray, and complain, “Why pray? If someone that good can be expelled, who can be saved? God shouldn’t treat people like this!” What is the nature of their words? Just one incident doesn’t align with their desires and they pass judgment on God. Isn’t this a manifestation of betraying God? People can stray from God anytime and anywhere; upon encountering some situation, they might conceive notions and judge and condemn God—isn’t this a manifestation of betraying God? This is a big deal. You might now think you don’t have any notions about God and can submit to Him, but if you do something wrong and suddenly face being sternly pruned, would you still be able to submit? Could you seek the truth for a resolution? If you cannot submit or seek the truth to resolve the problem of your rebelliousness, then there’s still a chance you could betray God. You may not have actually said “I no longer believe in God,” but your heart has already betrayed Him at that moment. You must see clearly what exactly human nature is. Is the essence of this nature betrayal? Very few are able to see man’s nature essence clearly. Of course, some people have a little conscience and relatively good humanity, while others have no humanity, but regardless of whether someone’s humanity is good or evil, or whether their caliber is good or poor, the common factor is that they can all betray God. Human nature is essentially that of betraying God. You used to think, “Since humans corrupted by Satan betray God by nature, there’s nothing I can do about it but change gradually.” Do you still think this way now? Then tell Me, can someone betray God without being corrupted? People can still betray God without being corrupted. When God created humans He gave them free will. Humans are particularly fragile; they do not possess the innate desire to draw close to God and say, “God is our Creator, and we are created beings.” There is no such concept in people. They naturally lack the truth, nor is there anything related to the worship of God within them. God gave humans free will, allowing them to think, but people don’t accept the truth, don’t know God at all, and don’t understand how to submit to and worship Him. These things do not exist in humans, so even without being corrupted you are still able to betray God. Why say you’re able to betray God? When Satan comes to tempt you, you follow Satan and betray God. You are created by God but do not follow Him, following Satan instead—doesn’t this make you a traitor? A traitor is by definition someone who betrays. Do you fully understand the essence of this? Therefore, people can betray God anytime and anywhere. People will only not betray God when they live completely in God’s kingdom and in His light, when all that is of Satan has been destroyed, and when there is no longer anything to tempt or entice them to sin. If there is still something which entices people to sin, then they will still be able to betray God. Humans, therefore, are worthless things. You might think that just because you can spout some words and doctrines that you understand some truths and cannot betray God, that you should at least be considered—if not as gold or silver—as bronze or iron, more valuable than earthenware, but you overestimate yourself. Do you know what humans really are? People can betray God anytime and anywhere, they are not worth a single penny; just as God said: Humans are beasts, worthless wretches. But in their hearts, people don’t think this way. They think, “I don’t think I’m a worthless wretch! Why can’t I see through this matter? How come I haven’t experienced it? My belief in God is sincere; I have faith, so I can’t betray God. God’s words are all truth, but I just can’t understand the phrase, ‘People can betray God anytime and anywhere.’ I’ve already seen God’s love; I could never betray Him at any time.” This is really what people think in their hearts, but God’s words are facts, they are not spoken out of thin air. Every matter is made evident to you, convincing you wholeheartedly; only in this way will you be able to recognize your corruption and resolve the problem of betrayal. In the kingdom, there will be no betrayal; when people live under God’s dominion and not under Satan’s control, they are truly free. Then, there will be no need to worry about betraying God; such concern would be unnecessary, superfluous. In the future, it can be declared that you no longer have anything within you that would betray God, but for now, this is not the case. Because people have corrupt dispositions, they can betray God anytime. It’s not that the presence of certain circumstances leads to betrayal, and without certain circumstances or coercion you won’t betray God—even without coercion, you can still betray Him. This is a problem of man’s corrupt essence, a problem of man’s nature. Even if you aren’t thinking or doing anything now, the reality of your nature truly does exist, and cannot be eradicated by anyone. Since you have the nature of betraying God within you; He is not in your heart; in the depths of your heart, there is no place for God and no presence of the truth; thus, you can betray God anytime and anywhere. Angels are different; while they don’t have God’s disposition or essence, they are able to completely submit to God because they were created by Him specifically for His service, to carry out His commands everywhere. They belong entirely to God. As for humans, God intended for them to live on the earth, not equipping them with the faculty to worship Him. Thus, humans can betray and resist God. This proves that humans can be used and contested by anyone; they have no sovereignty of their own. Humans are such beings, utterly devoid of dignity and worthless!

God exposes man’s betraying nature so people can have a true understanding of this matter and of themselves. People can start to change and try to find paths of practice from this aspect, understanding in which things they can betray God and what corrupt dispositions they have that can lead to betraying God. Once you reach a point where you do not rebel against God in many aspects, and do not betray Him in most aspects, when you come to the end of your life’s journey, to the moment when God’s work is finished, you will no longer need to worry about whether you will betray God in the future. Why do I say this? Before people were corrupted by Satan, they could betray God when enticed by Satan. When Satan is destroyed, won’t people stop betraying God? That time has not yet come. People still have Satan’s corrupt disposition within them, able to betray God anytime and anywhere. Once you have experienced life to a certain stage, where you have discarded all those wrong views, notions, and imaginings about resisting and betraying God; you have understood the truth, with many positive things in your heart; you can control yourself and master your own actions; and you no longer betray God in most situations, then when Satan is destroyed, you will be completely changed. The current stage of work is to solve man’s betrayal and rebellion. Future mankind will not betray God because Satan will have been dealt with. There will no longer be the matter of Satan misleading and corrupting mankind; this matter will then be unrelated to mankind. Now, people are asked to understand man’s betraying nature, which is an issue of the utmost significance. This is where you should start from. What belongs to the nature of betraying God? What constitutes the revelations of betrayal? How should people reflect and understand? How should they practice and enter? All of this must be understood and seen clearly. So long as the nature of betrayal still exists within someone, they can betray God anytime and anywhere. Even if they don’t openly deny or sell out God, they can still do many things which people would not consider betrayal, but which in essence are. This means that people have no autonomy; Satan has occupied them first. If you could betray God without being corrupted, how much more can you do so now that you are full of Satan’s corrupt disposition? Aren’t you even more capable of betraying God anytime and anywhere? The current task is to get rid of those corrupt dispositions, reducing the things that make you betray God, giving you more chances to be perfected and accepted by God in His presence. As you experience more of God’s work in various matters, you’ll be able to gain some truths and be perfected to some extent. If Satan and demons still come to tempt you, or evil spirits come to mislead and disturb you, you’ll be able to execute some discernment, and thus act less in ways which betray God. This is something that is developed inside people over time. When humans were first created, they didn’t know to worship or submit to God, nor did they know what it was to betray Him. When Satan came to tempt them, they followed it and betrayed God, becoming traitors, because they were unable to distinguish good and evil, and didn’t have the faculty to worship God—even less did they understand that God is the Creator of mankind, and how they should worship Him. Now, God saves people by working truths about knowing Him—including His essence, disposition, almightiness, practicality, and so on—into them so that they become their life, granting them autonomy and enabling them to live according to the truth. The deeper you experience God’s words and their judgment and chastisement, the deeper you’ll understand your own corrupt disposition, and this will give you the resolve to submit to, love, and satisfy God. The more you know God, then the more of your corrupt dispositions you can cast off, and within you there will be fewer things which betray God and more things which are compatible with Him, thus completely overcoming and triumphing over Satan. With the truth, people gain autonomy and are no longer misled or constrained by Satan, living a true human life. Some people ask: “If man has a corrupt nature within them and can betray God anytime and anywhere, then how can God still say He has made man complete?” Being made complete means that through experiencing God’s work, people come to know God and their own nature, understanding how to worship God and submit to God. They can discern between the work of God and the work of man, recognize the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits, and understand how Satan and demons resist God, how mankind resists God, what a created being is, and who the Creator is. All these are added to people through God’s work after they are created. So, the final completed humans are more substantial and valuable than those who were not corrupted initially, as God has added something to them, wrought something inside them. Hence, the final completed humans have more autonomy than Adam and Eve had, with a better understanding of the truth about worshiping and submitting to God, and how to conduct themselves. Adam and Eve didn’t know these things. When tempted by the serpent, they ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then realized their shame, yet still did not know how to worship God. From then on, mankind became increasingly more corrupt until now. This is quite a profound matter; none can clearly understand it. Due to the instincts of human flesh, people can betray God at any time and in any place, but ultimately, God will make man complete and bring them into the next age. This is something people find hard to understand; it can only be slowly experienced. Once the truth is understood, it will naturally become clear.

Why is it required for people to know God? It’s because without knowing God, people will resist Him. If someone doesn’t understand the truth, they’re liable to be misled and used by Satan and evil spirits. They won’t be able to escape Satan’s influence, thus failing to achieve salvation. But if someone understands the truth, they will then have true knowledge of God, be able to truly submit to Him, testify to Him, and be gained by Him. Satan won’t be able to mislead or exploit such a person, even if it wanted to; this is what it means to be completely free of Satan’s influence and to have achieved salvation, and this is the significance of God’s requirement that people know Him. If you know God, then you can be saved by Him; without knowing God, you cannot achieve salvation. If someone doesn’t understand God’s will and doesn’t pursue the truth at all, living instead by their satanic disposition, and not practicing the truth even if they understand some of it, still knowingly transgressing, then they are truly irredeemable. Which state are you in now? As long as you have a shred of hope now, then whether or not God remembers your past transgressions, what mentality should you maintain? “I must pursue a change in my disposition, pursue knowledge of God, never again be fooled by Satan, and never again do anything that would bring shame to God’s name.” People now are so profoundly corrupted and lack any worth. What key areas determine whether they can be saved and whether they have any hope? The key is, after listening to a sermon, whether or not you can comprehend the truth, whether or not you can put the truth into practice, and whether or not you can change. These are the key areas. If you only feel remorse, and when it comes time to do things you just do whatever you want, in the same old ways, not only not seeking the truth, still clinging to old views, methods, and regulations, and not only not reflecting on and trying to know yourself, but instead getting worse and worse, and still insisting on walking your old path, then you will be without hope, and should be written off. With greater knowledge of God and deeper knowledge of yourself, you will be better able to stop yourself from committing evil and sinning. The more thorough your knowledge of your nature, the better you can protect yourself, and after summarizing your experiences and lessons, you won’t fail again. In actual fact, everyone has some blemishes; it is just that God doesn’t hold them accountable for these. Everyone has them, it is just a matter of degree; some can be spoken of, others cannot. Some people do things that others know about, while some people do things without anyone knowing about it. Everyone has transgressions and blemishes in them, and they all reveal certain corrupt dispositions, like arrogance or self-righteousness; they have all had some deviations in their work or occasionally been rebellious. These are all understandable; they are unavoidable for corrupt mankind. But once people understand the truth, they should be able to avoid this and transgress no more; there’s no need for them to be troubled by past transgressions anymore. What’s key is whether people repent, whether they have truly changed. Those who repent and change are the ones who are saved, while those who remain unrepentant and unchanged throughout must be cast out. If, after understanding the truth, people still knowingly transgress, if they are steadfastly unrepentant, utterly unchanged, no matter how they are pruned or warned, then such people are beyond salvation.

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Next: Words on How to Resolve Corrupt Dispositions

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